Debaters take centre stage

Some brave souls stood in front of their assembled The Sir Henry Parkes Memorial Public School classmates on Wednesday, June 5 to share their take on multiculturalism, with the best speakers picked to form the school debating team for future competitions.

In the prepared section the Year 3/4 topics ranged from the importance of making friends in the playground, the value of exchanging cultural differences even where there's no common language but involving a good dose of 'kid power', and that being Australian means being prepared to give others a go.


The older speakers from Year 5/6 spoke of the evolution of the Australian film and television industry from whitewash to more diversity, with more indigenous and international content. One thought-provoking speech asked how multicultural Australia would be now if Captain Cook was prime minister, with his 18th century views.

Participants from both stages then had the very daunting task of presenting an impromptu speech on Can we see humour in multiculturalism? with just a couple of minutes preparation.

"I think Mr Lusty has picked some doozies," debate team manager Tracey Caldwell said.

Some thought jokes from other countries add to the humour content, while others said racially-based jokes just create disharmony.

Adjudicator Wayne Lusty had a very difficult task to pick who would represent the school, wishing he could choose more than the two allowed per group.

"Every one of these students is an asset to your school," he told the assembly.

"It was a very hard decision. Those that didn't make it are not a disappointment."

Ultimately it was a double-Annie act chosen to represent the Year 3/4 category, while Tiffany and Beth will represent Year 5/6.

The team will now go on to compete in the zone finals in Inverell on June 26.

Here's an example of the quality of the students' efforts, with Cody just missing out on selection with this presentation...